Is there any way to hide other answers until you submit your own answer? I ask because a question I've put up for bounty seems to be stuck in a rut. All the answers are pretty much derivatives of the first answer.

I'd really like the option to hide answers when I put a bounty on a question. I realize that this would create a lot of duplicate answers and no up / down votes, but it would at least generate a lot of answers. Since UX is a pretty creative area, I think this may work. (Wouldn't work too well for sites like StackOverflow since there's really one right answer every time.)

Vim Golf does this, and they end up with a ton of variation for each problem. (Which is cool.)

For me, it would be great if answers could optionally be hidden for the first 7 days, and then shown for voting after that.

Is something like this possible? Is it even a good idea? Thanks!

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I would hate to put a lot of work into an answer only to find out days later that it was an inadvertant duplicate. Dups are a burden for the readers; is there reason to believe (and not just hope) that there'd be an equal-or-greater benefit in quality? –  Monica Cellio Sep 25 '12 at 14:57
    
You're right -- that would be annoying. But my thinking is that it's like brainstorming. People come up with much more original ideas when they come up with them on their own and then combine them with the group. Since there's no one clear answer for UX stuff most of the time, I figure that this approach may work well. –  Loren Rogers Sep 25 '12 at 15:30
    
Perhaps have a process like this: for the first 4 days, answers are hidden. this generates a lot of responses. Then, for ~3 days, answers are opened up for grouping. Similar answers are grouped into categories. This lets people debate within a category how good the answer is. After this, the asker can choose to give the bounty to a group. The bounty can be split up among the contributors. It's complicated, but I think it would generate good answers. –  Loren Rogers Sep 25 '12 at 15:34
    
You are opening it up to a more advanced than necessary moderation process. Keeping it open and forcing users to scroll through the answers before responding doesn't deter brainstorming, it promotes it by pushing people to come up with new ideas and avoid duplicates in one fell swoop. –  Pdxd Apr 8 at 15:38

3 Answers 3

What you're suggesting makes sense, but there's a lot of other sites for that already: forums.

StackExchange isn't about each individual user's answer or ideas, but about finding the best one. People can build on other answers, or edit them — saves time and avoids reinventing the wheel.

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Sometimes you get variations on a single answer because there is only one obvious answer. As I understand the purpose of stackexchange sites, you probably shouldn't be asking too many questions that can't be definitively answered - see the FAQ for more details.

This seems like it would cause more problems than it solves - for starters it means an extra step for people who just want to see the answers, and would likely end up with lots of duplicate answers (I don't see your prompt method actually preventing people from posting, especially after someone has committed to writing an answer - they'll either post anyway to avoid the perception that they're wasting their effort, or they will check answers before they post anyway).

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Thanks @dhmholley -- you're right. Thinking through this more, it doesn't sound feasible. I'll go ahead and close the question. –  Loren Rogers Sep 27 '12 at 14:00

Answering my own question, since it's too long for comments...

An option that occurred to me would be to give the option for hiding, but not enforce it. An example scenario could go like this:

  1. I write a question to which there's no one correct answer, and I want a lot of creative responses.
  2. During the creation process, I'm asked if I want to hide answers from other viewers by default. I choose yes.
  3. A viewer clicks on my question and reads it. In the space where answers are normally shown, there's a button instead that says "Show Answers". A label explains that the asker wants people to think through their own answer before looking at the answers of others.
  4. The viewer writes up a draft of his answer.
  5. Before submitting the answer, the form prompts the user to look through other answers to check if they came up with something similar.
  6. If so, they're given the option to add their thoughts as a comment.

It's not entirely worked out, and would probably take a lot more thought before it would work smoothly, but I think that this may give more creative variation in our answers.

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